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Category: Classics

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Dante’s Divine Comedy: Complete Summary

In this episode of Literary Tales, we provide a full summary lecture of Dante’s Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Covering the nature of poetry, love, and theology, we cover Dante’s relationship with Virgil, Statius, and Beatrice and how these relationships guide Dante to Heaven.    

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Dante’s Inferno: Understanding Hell

In this episode of Literary Tales, we journey through the Inferno together to understand its construction and meanings from the pen of the great Renaissance poet Dante. Over the course of the lecture, we explore and examine every “circle” of Hell and why, in particular, Dante must journey through hell before ascending to Heaven through Purgatory.    

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Dante’s Paradiso in 20 Minutes!

In this episode of Literary Tales, we conclude the tripartite journey into Heaven in Dante’s Divine Comedy by examining how Beatrice is Dante’s “in persona Christi” in Paradiso. At long last, having learned forgiveness in Hell, the goodness of friendship and poetry in Purgatory, Dante is ready to take his seat in the eternal choir of Heaven.

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Dante’s Purgatorio in 20 Minutes!

In this episode of Literary Tales, we proceed to examine Dante’s Purgatorio where it left off from The Inferno. In this episode we learn how Dante uses poetry as a theme and symbol for beauty, goodness, and love in guiding us to the ultimate Beauty, Goodness, and Love in Heaven.

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Dante’s Inferno in 20 Minutes!

In this episode of Literary Tales, we begin the first of a three part 20 minute episode series covering Dante’s Divine Comedy. This episode focuses on The Inferno and the role of rediscovering love in the midst of Hell in order to escape its deadly clutches.

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Understanding Virgil’s Aeneid: Symbolism and History

In this episode of Literary Tales we unpack Virgil’s famous epic, the Aeneid, especially his use of history, historical consciousness, and historical imagery, in driving the epic onward to its conclusion. We learn, in this deconstruction, that the Aeneid is much more than a mytho-poetic epic; it relies on the very memory and experience of Roman history and is an […]

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The Real Meaning of Horace’s “Praise” Poetry

In this episode of Literary Tales we dig into the so-called “praise poetry” of Horace and deconstruct the claim that Horace was a propagadnist for Augustus. On the contrary, Horace’s traditionalism and praise of Augustus is tied to a greater concern in Horace: the romanticism of the agrarian idyll which was, in fact, the republican idyll before the Civil Wars. […]

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Violence, Love, and the Sacred in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

In this episode of Literary Tales we explore Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the juxtapositional dialectic of love and violence relating to metamorphosis (change or transformation) in the great mytho-poetic masterpiece of one of Rome’s great sensual poets. This lecture, in particular, focuses on the stories of Perseus and Andromeda; Pygmalion and the Statue; and Acis and Galatea.  

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Aristophanes: The First Poet-Critic

In this episode of Literary Tales we explore the satirical writings of Aristophanes and examine him as a satirist, literary critic, and political theorist/critic. Far from being a “comic,” we begin to realize Aristophanes as a serious thinker and critic examining the pressing issues of his day while cloaking it in the veil of comedy.  

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Sophocles: From Tragedy to Hope

In this episode of Literary Tales we explore the great Greek poet playwright Sophocles and offer a reading of some of his surviving plays (Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Electra) and how they revolve around the themes of filial decadence, dissolution, and deliverance in the broader movement of “Tragedy.” Family loyalty and dissolution, I argue, is the context to Sophoclean tragedy […]

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Euripides: Poet of Modernity

In this episode of Literary Tales we offer a reading of Euripides: The Bacchae and Medea. In Euripides we find very modern themes of power, feminism, and masculine domination. As such, we might go as far as to say that Euripides was the prophet of modernity and put his thumb on the very issues we are now grappling with.  

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“The Oresteia”: The Timeless Tragedy of Aeschylus

In this episode of Literary Tales we introduce the greatest of the Greek playwrights, Aeschylus, and his magisterial tripartite play: The Oresteia. In covering the Oresteia we provide some background to the Greek literary and cosmological world before Aeschylus and then proceed to see how Aeschylus moves the pathological cosmos of love (from Homer) to include justice.  

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Half Hour Herodotus: Complete Summary of “The Histories”

In this episode of the Philosophy Hour at Literary Tales we pivot to an examination of the “Father of History” Herodotus and his infamous book The Histories. Is there some unifying theme to this seemingly disparate work? Indeed there is. Historia, in Greek, means inquiry. And what Herodotus inquires about is the nature of human action. He finds, over the […]

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Homer’s “Odyssey”: The Journey Home to Love

In this episode of Literary Tales we continue from Homer’s Iliad to Homer’s Odyssey. In this lecture we explore the theme of marital fidelity in contradistinction to marital infidelity and how only human love, and not human-divine love (or vice versa) can bring healing and wholeness to human life. Love, the great theme of the Iliad, is again explored in […]

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Homer’s “Iliad” is a Love Epic

In this episode of Literary Tales we contrast Homer’s Iliad against Hesiod’s Theogony to reveal the stark break from the poetic past and how Homer’s Iliad is really a cosmic epic of love and forgiveness caught in the rapture of war. I have written extensively on the Iliad (and Homer, more generally) for numerous publications. Links to various Homeric essays […]

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Hesiod’s “Theogony” and the Foundations of Greek Literature

In this lecture of Literary Tales, before we can proceed into any substantial dealing with Greek literature and mythology, we must first begin with Hesiod’s Theogony to set the stage and establish the cornerstones of the Greek pathological cosmos. I’ve written extensively on Greek literature and history in the public square. You can you my associated essays and articles here: […]